PARIS, France - Maria Sharapova is one of the biggest stars in the sports world, but there was one fellow athlete who left her star struck upon meeting him. And who could blame her, considering he is widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time?
"When I met Michael Jordan for the first time, I know he's not playing anymore, but I was pretty star struck," Sharapova said during one of her post-match French Open press conferences.
"I am usually pretty okay with meeting athletes or actors or musicians, but when I met him I thought, 'Wow.' I felt like he was walking around with a golden crown. He has a pretty impressive aura, and what he's done in his career and afterwards and the brand that he's built, it sets a nice example."
Sharapova knows a thing or two about business herself, as her endorsement deals with Porsche, Nike, Cole Haan, Evian, Tag Heuer and Samsung have made her the world's highest-paid female athlete. And she even launched her own candy collection, Sugarpova, earlier this year.
"I do have my own business, but I mean, it's candy," Sharapova said. "It's not like I'm on Wall Street. I think it's always nice to see an athlete who has different interests, that go beyond what they did in their sport. I think that's a really nice quality, because they don't just finish their career and think, 'What am I going to do now?' The successful people, at least the ones I have read about or known or looked at documentaries about, they always kind of worked on things throughout their career in order to set up something for later in their life, and that's kind of how I have been through my tennis career."
However, Sharapova understands those who want a more low-profile retirement.
"It's a personal choice because some people once they're done with what they're doing, they just want to maybe kick back and relax on the couch," Sharapova said. "And that's a great life too."